Archive for the ‘Bull Durham’ Category

Nuke LaLoosh, With A Modern Slant

It should be understood by now that we love anything that has anything to do with “Bull Durham.”  So when I saw this “Pitcher Profile” over at Beyond the Box Score, I knew it needed to be mentioned here.  Absolutely awesome and amazing.

This actually started me thinking: Bill Simmons used to write columns from time to time where he would take a character from a sports movie and try to figure out what their stats might have been.  He did Roy Hobbs and Jimmy Chitwood, maybe others.  Anyway, I had to wonder what Nuke LaLoosh’s major league numbers would have looked like.

He was a strong, hard-throwing righty who started off in the mid-90s and got stronger as the game went on, but he also only had two pitches – fastball and curveball (I’m assuming he had a curveball, since he asked Crash to teach him how to throw one after they fought on the bus).  The only guy I know of offhand who succeeded as a starter in the modern era with two pitches was Sandy Koufax.  Plus, this was the mid-to-late eighties, he was a flake and a follower, on his way to a terrible Atlanta Braves team – what are the odds he would’ve become a regular at the Gold Club and reverted to the kid who banged groupies instead of warming up?  Pretty good, I’d say.

So, given all that, the question remains – how WAS Ebby Calvin LaLoosh?

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Something Tells Me We’ll Be Writing A Lot About Stephen Strasburg This Season

Ever since Jay Bruce* left the Bus Leagues for the glory of The Show, we have found ourselves without a focal point for our ramblings.  If you remember the early days of this blog, Bruce was the almost constant object of our baseball affections (sometimes, almost disturbingly so).  His departure left a void in our lives that we had been unable to fill.

Until now.

*I inexplicably found myself watching a Cardinals-Reds game while visiting my in-laws tonight.  The Deal homered before I turned it on, but later made a great catch in right field, reached on an error by Albert Pujols because he hustled all the way down the line, and stole a base.  Somehow, I resisted the urge to tell my father-in-laws friends, who are visiting from out of town, all about how Jay Bruce knows about my blog and thinks the nickname our readers gave him is great.  Also, I saw Colby Rasmus play for the first time.

Something tells me that regardless of how much time he spends in the minor leagues this year, Stephen Strasburg is poised to become the newest Bus Leagues man-crush.  He struck out 23 batters in a game last season.  He routinely breaks 100 on the radar gun.  He might already be in a Nationals uniform when I see them play the Orioles in late June (part of me hopes they draft him, sign him quick, and David Clyde him so I have a chance of seeing him in action.  This is the same part of me that hopes to one day win the lottery).  And now, he’s thrown a no-hitter.

Over 3,000 fans watched Strasburg dominate Air Force on Friday, striking out 17 to improve his record to 11-0 on the season.  He has struck out 164 batters in 87.1 innings.  If my math is right, almost 63% of the outs he has recorded have come by way of the strikeout.  So yeah, he is really, really good.

About that no-hitter:

“There’s a few pitches that I got away with that they fouled back that were kind of up and in the zone,” Strasburg said in an interview posted on the school’s Web site. “When it came crunch time and I needed a punchout or I needed to get a groundball, I was able to do that.”

Reading the first part of that quote, I can’t help but think of the scene in Bull Durham where Nuke, having finally put it all together, bounces into the dugout and seeks affirmation for his great inning.  No sooner are the words out of his mouth than Crash starts laying into him, telling him everything that had gone wrong, ending with the line, “In The Show they would’ve ripped you.”

Minor League Merchandise at ESPN: the Magazine

As you may know, one of your intrepid Bus Leaguers has the good fortune to write a little for the ESPN: the Magazine website. This week, minor league merchandise managed to sneak onto the pages for the mouthpiece of the Worldwide Leader, and we wanted to share it with you:

Tina Gust is the Director of Licensing for Minor League Baseball. She has seen merchandise sales grow along with record-setting ballpark attendance over the past four years, as teams and retailers have paid close attention to what customers want. “Baseball fans and card collectors enjoy following young stars, hoping to catch a game or pick up the card of the next all-star shortstop or Cy Young award-winner.” she says

“Team operators are becoming more attuned to their fans’ merchandise needs—expanding the product selection to satisfy both casual and die-hard fans.” Minor league gear has shown up in on film, in music videos, and even on high-end retail shelves at Bloomingdales and Saks Fifth Avenue.

[ESPN: the Magazine]

Also quoted in the article is Bus Leagues contributor Will, who waxes nostalgic about the Brooklyn baseball scene.

Hope you enjoy!

In addition, Rick Reilly wrote a piece about minor leaguers who missed their shot because they refused to take steroids. Read it here.

Bull Durham Stadium to become Training Field of Dreams

The Durham Bulls haven’t played in Durham Athletic Park for years now. Nobody’s had to hold the flavor of the month’s junk there for some time, but the park still stands. Nobody really wants to tear down the filmic backdrop to the legendary baseball movie “Bull Durham”.

Now comes the news that the City of Durham is renovating the stadium, courtesy of a $6.3 million budget. The new field will host the collegiate baseball battles of North Carolina Central University. Some reports also claim that the facility will be a training ground for future ballpark employees:

When it’s finished, the old park will be a new training ground for minor league baseball. People will come to Durham to learn how to take care of fields and how to “flip” them from festivals to ballgames.

[WRAL]

I’ve attempted to contact the city to find out what they’re doing with the debris from the old stadium. Wouldn’t you love a chance to buy the table Millie was lying on when she and Nuke… never mind.

[MyNC.com]

Yeah, I’ve Been In The Show. I Was In The Show For 21 Days Once

Scott McClain is 36 years old.  He has six hits in 45 major league at-bats, including one double, for a .133 career average.  His only RBI in The Show came with the Chicago Cubs on August 9, 2005, when he pinch hit and reached on a throwing error by the third baseman.  His career OPS+ in thirty games is, somehow, -0.

In the minors, though, McClain fits the classic definition of a Quad A player – good enough to post superior numbers at the AAA level, but not quite good enough to stick in the majors.  On Monday, he reached an impressive milestone, scoring four times to become the only active player with 1,000 career runs batted in and 1,000 career runs scored in the minor leagues.

McClain, who has played for seven organizations in the United States and spent all or part of four seasons in Japan,  did it in style, tying the game with a ninth inning homerun and winning it with another blast in the eleventh.  He is hitting .308 with 17 homeruns and 68 RBI for the season and, according to thebaseballcube.com, has 350 career homers (counting the 71 he hit on the other side of the Pacific.

Congratulations, Scott.

Candlesticks Make A Nice Gift

We somehow missed the 20th anniversary of Bull Durham’s release here at Bus Leagues (bad minor league baseball bloggers – BAD!) but never fear, for I have spent the past thirty minutes trolling around YouTube in search of a video clip that will make up for the fact that we are almost three weeks late to the party (hey, Costner is in Durham with his band later today; that makes this a relevant topic, no?)

And finally, I found one. 

Be careful with the volume, because the language gets a little salty at times, but it’s well worth it if you’re one of those people who has always wondered what they’re talking about during those little mid-inning get togethers on the mound.

Reminder: Crash Davis Returns to Durham on July 4th

I don’t know what Kevin Costner is doing with a guitar in that photo, but I hope he’s singing this:

“Young girls they do get wooly, beCAUSE of all the stress!”

God, I hate people who get the words wrong.

Actually, Mr. Costner will be back in Durham to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the film that gave this blog a name:

In honor of the 20th Anniversary of the hit movie Bull Durham, the Durham Bulls are pleased to announce Hollywood star Kevin Costner and his band, Modern West are coming to Durham to celebrate Independence Day with a concert at the DBAP on July 4th. Costner starred in the role of Crash Davis, an aging catcher sent down to A-ball to work with a young pitching prospect on the Durham Bulls. The City of Durham’s annual fireworks extravaganza will follow the concert.

[durhambulls.com]

Am I the only one who finds celebrity musical groups to be a bit sad? And imagine having to tell your kids that the fireworks show won’t start until the guy with the thinning hair is done with his soft rock playlist. Then again, if they can get him to deliver his famous “high fiber, good scotch” (and a few other things) soliloquy, maybe it will be truly newsworthy.

[ESPN: the Magazine’s Bull Durham Week]